Our Children know that it is a special day when I make Gumbo.  It usually takes about 2 days to make, so I only do it on special occasions.  Day 1 is Chop and Stock day.  I chop up all the ingredients and begin making the stock that the Gumbo is built on.
Day 2 is to make the Roux and assemble the Gumbo.
The Stock is really important and can make the difference between an okay Gumbo and a great Gumbo. I am a firm believer that a great stock is worth the work. 
So, once I have chopped the ingredients I take all of the discards from chopping and put them into a stockpot.  It usually consists of Chicken broth, shrimp broth, celery discards and hearts, onion butts and pieces, chicken bones and skin, and shrimp heads and shells.  Are you hungry yet? Well, probably not.  You would never think garbage like this could make something taste so good!
The children have come home from school more than once with the aroma of gumbo filling their senses.  Only to open the stockpot and yell, “OH, Grooooss!” There is nothing like the site of bobbing shrimp heads and chicken bones to make you loose your appetite.
I open the lid, checking to see how it was progressing, with my glasses fogging up from the steam, when a thought crossed my mind. There was a time, when my heart and life, looked very much like that Stock. “Oh, Gross.” So much brokenness and garbage from bad choices that I had made, and some bad choices others made that I had to live through.
As I stir the pot of Stock, I wonder if all that is cleaned up in me.  Without a doubt  God rescued me from those dark days and I have been healed from so many things that tried to destroy my heart and life. But has it all been redeemed, or worked through?  I was not sure. 
The Stock has been cooking for about four hours, and is now ready for making Gumbo.   It is now called a Rich Stock, because it has cooked long enough to reduced the water and intensify the different flavors. The flavor is much more pungent than when it was water, broth and garbage.
I begin to pour the Rich Stock through a colander, collecting the large pieces that could now go to the mulch pile or garbage, while watching the little pieces of flavor slip through the small holes.  That is when I heard the Lord speak to my heart.
“ After much time and heat, I have processed your broken pieces of life and garbage, and made for Myself a Rich Stock Life in you.”
I stood very still by the sink, looking out of the window into the yard for several minutes, amazed at the thought.  Me? Rich Stock?  I laugh a little.  Only God could call someone “Rich Stock” with all of it’s meanings, and make it a compliment!  He is so very Awesome!
If He would do this for me, He will do it for you.  So how about it?  What is your story? Are you living a Rich Stock Life?
“When Moses had cut the ram into its pieces, he offered up the head and the pieces and the suet in smoke.  He washed the entrails and legs with water, then offered up the whole ram in smoke on the alter.  It was a burnt offering for a soothing aroma; it was an offering by fire to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”  Leviticus 8:20-21 NAS
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Diane W. Bailey is the founder of The Consilium – an online community of wisdom and purpose for women over 45 years of age. She is a published author. Her books include String of Pearls – From Tears to Treasure, and 30 Days To A Better Stepfamily. She creates her own line of precious metals bracelets. Diane lives in the Deep South with her husband Doc. Together they have created a stepfamily, each having two stepchildren and two birth children, and share three grandchildren, one black lab named Charlie and one long haired tabby cat named Lil Girl. Diane’s passion is to encourage women to be all God has created them to be by pressing past fear and daring to live life as an adventure. Some of her life adventures include traveling to Israel, speaking, entrepreneurship and backyard farming with Doc. She loves Gumbo, fried shrimp and seeing all sunsets across water.

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